12th July 2024
Forrest Fenn

As metal detectorists we all love a good treasure story and although we know the chances of striking it rich are pretty slim it is still a fun and interesting pursuit. You just never know what that next signal might turn up! However, eager as I am to find that next big hoard of Roman gold I certainly would not be putting my life in danger to do so. Some however will give up everything in the hope of finding treasure and sometimes that means giving up their life.

Back in 2010 Forrest Fenn, a retired art dealer and Vietnam War veteran living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, self-published a collection of short stories from his life titled ‘The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir‘. In it he wrote about a treasure chest that he says contains gold nuggets, rare coins, jewellery and gemstones. He said that he has concealed this treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe. He also says the book contains clues to the location of the treasure within a poem that he had written.

In 1988 Forest Fenn was diagnosed with cancer and the prognosis was not good. Thankfully he recovered from his illness but being that close to death obviously inspired him. He wanted to leave a legacy and the hiding of the treasure was a part of this. He also wanted the location of the treasure to be his final resting place. He said he wanted to “inspire people to explore nature and give hope to people affected by the Great Recession”.

He certainly inspired hope but at least 6 people are known to have lost their lives hunting for the Forrest Fenn treasure. How many more might follow?

This is no weekend jaunt in the country type of treasure hunt. The vast area where the treasure is supposed to be located lies within a wilderness and people often head off completely unprepared for the hazards they will face.

Bears, snakes, strong flowing rivers and a lack of cellphone service are just some of the dangers visitors to the area should expect. The problems are often made worse by searchers not leaving precise details with their loved ones of where they are going and how long they will be away, probably in the hope of keeping their secret but at such great the risk to their own lives.

Is there really a treasure? Only Forrest Fenn can answer that but one interesting little snippet of information he did provide was that he said he was 80 years of age when he hid the treasure and that It is not located in a dangerous place or even one that is hard to reach. He said some people have come within 200 feet of it!

If it were me? I would buy a decent gold prospecting detector and head for the gold fields of Australia. At least there is no poem with clues to decipher and no question about there being gold out there. It is just a matter of finding it.


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